Rabbit Trail


I ended up going down a Facebook rabbit trail for at least two hours last night.

It all started innocently enough. I made a comment on the page of one of my childhood friends. Almost immediately, another person commented and I recognized the  last name of a family who used to live in my neighborhood.

I had not thought of this family in years. So, I clicked on her profile to see how life had turned out for my former classmate.

Life has been hard for her. She is currently dealing with a debilitating disease and her children all have special needs. I was overwhelmed just reading about their many issues and my heart went out to her.

Yet, her status updates were all upbeat, hopeful, and encouraging. She apparently is a strong woman of faith. Her Facebook page was a sunny place.

I noticed her list of friends and saw some more familiar names from high school. In full lurker mode now, I clicked on every one of them.

I saw that a classmate who had tragically lost her high school sweetheart at a young age had happily remarried. The first thing I saw that someone had written on her wall said the following:

“I’m so glad you came through your hip  replacement surgery all right, Grandma!”

Excuse me?

Grandma?! Hip  replacement surgery?! 

This woman is my age!

Which means that I old enough to have grandchildren and a hip replaced?!

Of course, I know this intellectually. Yet, there is a part of me who still feels like I am 21.

Upon clicking onto another classmate’s profile, I was taken aback to see her latest photo album entitled: “Our Daughter’s Wedding.” My former friend from our middle school days was the mother of the bride! 

We used to sit with our  girlfriends in her bedroom during sleepovers and giggle about who we might marry one day. And now she has been married for 28 years and is now both a mother-in-law and a grandma!

And…I recognized her immediately because she looked almost the same as she did when we graduated from high school!!  Good thing I sent her a friend request…I must know her beauty secrets!

Memories flooded my mind as I clicked on name after name that had not entered my consciousness for nearly three decades.

One guy who was the life of the party in high school still appears to be partying his way all over the world, his smile as bright as ever. It was on his page that I hit the mother-lode: an album filled with photos from our 25th class reunion from a few years ago, complete with names!

The most beautiful girl in our class is still the most beautiful woman in the room.

A guy I used to have a crush on was totally unrecognizable. I would never have known him in a million years.

I was happy to see that a couple who married right out of high school are still together.

Overall, I was amazed at how many people I recognized because they have changed so little. There must be something in the water in western PA!

I finally closed down my laptop, thinking about the difference between being a high school kid in the early 80s verses today. It seemed like it was a much more innocent time.

There were still mainly 3 broadcast channels, although cable was taking off.  If we wanted to know what was on TV that night, we consulted the thick TV Guide.

We were the first family on our block to subscribe to a new thing called Home Box Office (HBO) and also the first to own a VCR.

MTV came on the scene for the first time. We watched Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at least ten million times.

Nobody had a cell phone.  In fact, phones were still attached to the kitchen wall and came with a long cord. Most people didn’t even have call-waiting or answering machines. If you called someone and they were on the line, you heard a busy signal (a sound my kids have never heard). If you left your house, no one could get in touch with you until you returned.

There was no 24 hour news cycle. Television stations actually went off the air around 2 a.m.after playing The Star Spangled Banner.

We still had to use dictionaries and typewriters to write term papers. Computers were large and no one had one in their homes. There was no internet.

The “must-have” was a Sony Walkman, which was so much cooler and hip than the 8 track players that were all the rage in the previous decade.

Very few kids had their own cars. We learned to drive in whatever our parents drove. (In my case, it was a snazzy wood-paneled station wagon).

Hard drugs weren’t around in my small town. A big scandal resulted if someone got caught smoking in the high school bathroom.

Hair was huge and blue mascara was considered hip.

We did not send emails, we wrote letters in longhand.

Everyone knew their neighbors. Dads washed their cars by hand while listening to the Pirates game on the radio and moms would congregate on front stoops to chat.

Families ate dinner together. Around 5:00, we would begin to hear various moms calling their kids to come inside for supper.

Yes, it was definitely a simpler time.

As I head to bed tonight, my mind is filled with happy memories of days gone by and I know I will go to sleep with a smile.

I am looking forward to reconnecting with some of my former classmates via Facebook.

What about you? Have you gone to any of your class reunions? Do you look back on your high school years fondly? Do you think things were easier when you were a teenager?

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